Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday's Children Blog Hop: Gut Poetry

Every once in a while, I come across a piece of writing that finds its way into my soul and lodges there.  This is one such piece.  I first discovered in back in 10th grade, and it has hovered around the edges of my mind ever since.  The feeling I get when I read it is the same feeling I try to capture in my own writing.
Hiking Tours, Trip in the Yukon
"The Spell Of The Yukon"
by Robert W. Service
I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
   I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvyI fought it;
   I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it 
   Came out with a fortune last fall, 
Yet somehow life’s not what I thought it,
   And somehow the gold isn’t all.

No! There’s the land. (Have you seen it?)
   It’s the cussedest land that I know,
From the big, dizzy mountains that screen it
   To the deep, deathlike valleys below.
Some say God was tired when He made it;
   Some say it’s a fine land to shun;
Maybe; but there’s some as would trade it
   For no land on earthand I’m one.

You come to get rich (damned good reason);
   You feel like an exile at first;
You hate it like hell for a season,
   And then you are worse than the worst.
It grips you like some kinds of sinning;
   It twists you from foe to a friend;
It seems it’s been since the beginning;
   It seems it will be to the end.

I’ve stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
   That’s plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I’ve watched the big, husky sun wallow
   In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Till the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
   And the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I’ve thought that I surely was dreaming,
   With the peace o’ the world piled on top.

The summerno sweeter was ever;
   The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river,
   The bighorn asleep on the hill.
The strong life that never knows harness;
   The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness
   O God! how I’m stuck on it all.

The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
   The white land locked tight as a drum,
The cold fear that follows and finds you,
   The silence that bludgeons you dumb.
The snows that are older than history,
   The woods where the weird shadows slant;
The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,
   I’ve bade ’em good-bybut I can’t.

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
   And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
   And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
   There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There’s a landoh, it beckons and beckons,
   And I want to go backand I will.

They’re making my money diminish;
   I’m sick of the taste of champagne.
Thank God! when I’m skinned to a finish
   I’ll pike to the Yukon again.
I’ll fightand you bet it’s no sham-fight;
   It’s hell!but I’ve been there before;
And it’s better than this by a damsite
   So me for the Yukon once more.

There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
   It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
   So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land ’way up yonder,
   It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
   It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.
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  1. WOW! Lovely, lovely, lovely. Thanks for sharing. My GUT piece is the novel, The Book Thief-it's like one long beautifully haunting poem.

    1. Nice! I'm ashamed to admit I have it on my shelf, but still haven't read it yet. I'll have to check it out!

  2. Gorgeous! I feel that way about Jeanette Winterson's writing. Writing so raw and so sensory it's a visceral experience as well as an emotional/intellectual one.

    1. Exactly! That's the word: visceral. Well-said!

  3. Lovely poem. Do I need a "gut" piece? Writing lures me on, and on and on.
    It's always been there for me. All I ever needed was a pen.

    I'll get my TC up next week. Good stopping in, Laura. :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! And no, I don't suppose you "need" a gut piece- in my experience, they're not usually something you seek out. More often than not, they find you :-)

  4. Wonderful. Funny how questing for gold and the writing adventure can be so similar. :) Thanks for sharing.

  5. I want to go to there!

    That poem is absolutely stunning. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    I think the first book I had that kind of reaction to was Charles deLint's The Wild Wood. I honestly don't think it's his best book, but it reached out and took hold of me and I'm pretty sure it's taken up residence in my soul now. :) I'm ashamed to say I haven't read the Book Thief yet, either. But it's on my pile!

    1. I've noticed that with other books too- it's not always the most famous or literary works that are the most emotionally gripping...

  6. I got goosebumps reading that. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. My pleasure! Thanks again for sharing it :-)

  7. LOL — now I'm really interested in this Alaskan, gold-digging, isolation story you've been musing about in previous TC entries!

    There seems to be something visceral about the north — like it brings out our primal nature or something. Just the need to survive and succumb to your inner animal, haha.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Coooooold!

    Lovely piece though. :D

    "Every once in a while, I come across a piece of writing that finds its way into my soul and lodges there." I do this too.

    1. I knew we were birds of a feather... ;-)


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